Marvel

Frozen Princess Elsa

Disneyphiles rejoice. In conjunction with the digital release of the massively successful Frozen, and the arrival of Thor: The Dark World on DVD/Blu-ray, Disney has launched its own movie streaming service, where fans will be treated to a full catalogue of Disney, Pixar, and Marvel releases, to the tune of more than four hundred titles up for purchase. Called Disney Movies Anywhere, as the name suggests, the multi-platform streaming service is tailored for mobility, currently available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and web, and even your television via Apple TV through AirPlay or iCloud. The new cloud-based app service, powered by iTunes, is currently offering a limited time free digital download of Pixar’s massive 2004 hit, The Incredibles, when users sign up and connect their iTunes account. In addition, digital codes provided in Disney DVD/Blu-ray releases since 2008 will be redeemable upon joining of the service. Using the service will come with a variety of perks, including exclusive featurettes on a large number of titles, bonus features, and a Disney Movie Rewards points system earned via purchase of digital content.

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Thor: The Dark World (2013)

By the end of the year, we will be ten films deep in Marvel Studios mythology, which is quite a feat by any standard. While not every film can be the billion-dollar blockbuster like The Avengers or Iron Man 3, the smaller ones still make plenty of money worldwide and provide a substantial amount of connective tissue in the overall universe. In November 2013, Thor: The Dark World came out, performing about as well as its predecessor (which is to say good, but not great). The film wraps up a lot of Loki’s storyline from Thor and The Avengers, but more importantly, the mid-credits sequence leads into The Guardians of the Galaxy, due out in August 2014. For the DVD and Blu-ray release, director Alan Taylor sits down with Marvel guru Kevin Feige, villainous heartthrob Tom Hiddleston, and cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau to talk about the film and reveal the behind-the-scenes process of not just making a superhero film, but making an installment in a much larger franchise.

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So what have you all been up to today? It’s raining something fierce here in Portland, so today was a three movie day for me. First up was Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, Bad Words, and happily it was pretty fantastic. Few actors play malicious, foul-mouthed pricks as well as Bateman. After that I watched the new Criterion Blu-ray of Michael Mann’s debut, Thief. I’d never seen it before, but it should surprise no one when I say I loved it. The visual stylings, themes, and preferred pacing that would go on to mark his career are all present in his first film. Amazing stuff. Finally, I watched one from way back in Brian De Palma’s career with Arrow’s new Blu-ray of Phantom of the Paradise. It’s an interesting and somewhat fun watch, but it’s easy to see why it hasn’t caught on as anything more than a cult classic. Anyway. Here’s that trailer for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy that you’ve all been waiting for.

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Marvel is everywhere right now. Everywhere. You can’t take two steps without hearing how Johnny Depp might be Doctor Strange or how the actor who just shared a steamy on-screen romance with Matt Damon will now share a steamy on-screen romance with a few ant farms’ worth of insects or how Abraham Van Helsing will glare and shake his fist menacingly at the Avengers or how Johnny Depp probably won’t be Doctor Strange. Also Michael Pena is up for an Ant-Man role, and that’s neat. But as a wise man once said, when you have access to Sir Ben Kingsley, use Sir Ben Kingsley. That hasn’t been forgotten in all this Marvel mayhem, as the first clip from the one-shot All Hail the King is now available for our viewing consumption. Written and directed by Iron Man 3 screenwriter Drew Pearce, the short stars Kingsley as (and this would be a spoiler, obviously, to those who haven’t seen Iron Man 3) Trevor Slattery, the party-hardy thespian who posed as the Mandarin for the bulk of the film.\

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Dr Orpheus - Venture Bros

Dr. Orpheus from The Venture Bros. (as seen looking scholarly above) is a perfect example of Marvel‘s problem with making a Doctor Strange movie. Mostly because his grand silliness is all I can think about when I imagine someone bringing Strange to life on the big screen. Orpheus is a stellar parody which points out that Strange is dated in a way that, say, Iron Man isn’t. A guy in a flying metal suit with a bunch of munitions makes gut-level sense as a hero. Hell, even Thor has a grounding in a real-world mythological structure we’re familiar with, but when you have a guy screaming about Hoggoth and doing magic in a cinematic universe built ostensibly on humans advancing through science, you run into an issue. Specifically, whoever is going to play the character runs into the issue of not looking like Dr. Orpheus. According to Latino Review, that might be Johnny Depp. The rumor is that he’s met with Marvel about the role, and in general it sounds like a good fit for one reason: Jerry Bruckheimer won’t be involved. Yes, it’s another opportunity for Depp to go crazy. John Gholson hit the nail on the head earlier today with this tweet:

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Superman Death

The next three years in the theater will be inundated with mutants, aliens, sorcerers, gods both good and evil, and sentient machines, all vying for your fandom and dollars. The reign of the comic book film may seem to have already been fully realized, with 2008′s Iron Man generally marked as the poured foundation in the house that Disney and Marvel Studios built, culminating in 2012′s The Avengers. Disney and Marvel’s combined audaciousness in envisioning and executing with unprecedented success the interweaving franchises of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and making Hulk work in spite of three films of which none of the original leads transition to the ensemble, is remarkable. It’s a blueprint for success that, oddly, film historians decades from now may mark as the first nail in the coffin of a genre that needlessly accelerated its own demise, and which damaged the success and viability of smaller, less mainstream offerings under its super-powered umbrella at the expense of getting while the getting is good.

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Thor: The Dark World

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Ant-Man

Well, that was fast. Overnight, news broke that Paul Rudd was in negotiations to star as Ant-Man for Edgar Wright’s Marvel movie. Now we’ve got some footage of the actor testing out the suit from an inside source. It’s obviously not theater quality, but it’s a clear look at the design for the character, and the action is far more intense then you’d expect from a typical screen test. It starts deep in a forest where the hero is fighting (rather futilely) against a diabolical, technologically advanced piece of weaponry — and it’s all downhill from there. For those doubting Rudd can handle the badass nature of a superhero, prepare to be sold:

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Paul Rudd - The Shape of Things

There’s your Hank Pym everyone. To be fair, he could be Scott Lang or Eric O’Grady, but he’s definitely Ant-Man. According to The Wrap, Paul Rudd has begun negotiations to play the shrinking superhero for Edgar Wright‘s 2015 film. The only thing the article gets wrong is in calling Ant-Man a comedic character. There’s no doubt that Wright will bring some dry humor to the project, but the main character is a committed man of science, often singularly-focused, majorly conflicted and (thanks to Ultron) sometimes deeply unstable. But it’s easy to make the comic connection to Rudd. In the past few years, he’s settled into a public image as a semi-Straight Man comedian. Judd Apatow and Anchorman have ensured that, but his range as an actor is far larger than a disarming smile and unblinking delivery. For some, be’ll always be Josh from Clueless (or some grown-up variation), but the reason Rudd’s casting in Ant-Man is so perfect is his work as the desperate loser Adam Sorenson in The Shape of Things. Weakness, aggression, massive inner conflict, uneasiness and a profound lack of self-esteem were all present alongside genuine joy and kindness. I’m not saying those attributes will color Ant-Man, but it’s reassuring to know that Rudd can build a rounded character with the ability to drop jaws and break hearts. If you don’t need that in your CGI-fest, no sweat. Personally, I think it’s time we expect more from our superhero movies. Marvel has earned a lot of trust with their track record […]

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Sinister Six

This is excellent. Sony announced late last night via their viral ElectroArrives website that they — not to be outdone by Warners — are also looking to copy Marvel’s recipe for bank truck deliveries. Only they get to do it with a Marvel property. The interesting twist is that they want to do it with villains instead of heroes. Up first are Venom and The Sinister Six, swirling around in the ether even as ASM3 and ASM4 are also being talked about. However, they aren’t exactly doing it piecemeal; Drew Goddard, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Jeff Pinker and Ed Solomon are all working together to create a cohesive universe out of a comic book world that doesn’t easily lend itself to it. If those names make you smile while shivering, you’re having the right response. For more conflicting feelings, Kurtzman is directing Venom from his own script co-written with Orci and Pinker (with probably zero chance they’ll call on this guy for creative input) while Goddard will be writing and directing The Sinister Six.

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Guillermo del Toro

With the news that Marvel and Disney’s plans to dominate film and television just got kicked up a notch by a massive deal with Netflix to churn out four new original programs and a miniseries, it appears that Warner Bros. and DC are now getting in on the whole franchise universe/world conquest gambit. Guillermo del Toro, who is currently working on Justice League Dark film, spoke to Cinefilos.it about the progress with his project — and spilled that it would be fitting into an entire DC world, something that hasn’t really been discussed at length. Guillermo. “We’re still on [Justice League Dark], writing, and hopefully it will happen but there are no developments that are new. We’re still at Warner Bros., they are making plans for the entire DC universe. All the superheroes, all the mythologies, and part of that is Justice League Dark. They’re planning on TV, movies, and all the media, so we have to fit into that plan.” The revelation from del Toro is not all that surprising; with 2015′s Batman vs. Superman on the way, featuring potential appearances by Wonder Woman and Nightwing, and tentative plans for both Justice League and The Flash movies down the pipeline in 2016 and 2017, the door has been open for some time for DC superheroes to have their interconnected heyday. With del Toro’s Justice League Dark, the more monster-y of the DC universe’s characters, like Constantine, Swamp Thing, and Deadman are also headed for the big screen.

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superman-the-movie-1978-marlon-brando-as-jor-el-sentences-general-zod-non-and-ursa

It’s only a coincidence that I’m writing this on the day Man of Steel hits home video, and it has nothing to do with the approaching 35th anniversary of Superman: The Movie. Rather, it’s something I’ve been wondering during the discussions of the latest Marvel movie post-credits “stingers.” Thor: The Dark World finishes with three separate teases. The first (not a stinger) comes before the credits and hints at something that will presumably be dealt with in Thor 3. The next comes midway into the credits and introduces a character and teases plot that is part of the larger Marvel/Avengers franchise storyline. And the third is just a funny post-credits scene that I expect to be the vaguely reported link between the film and an upcoming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode. Personally, I have no problem with these or any stingers. The midway scene in Thor 2 is pretty goofy, though, and has been met with the usual confusion that, hopefully for Marvel’s sake, translates into curiosity instead of annoyance. And perhaps the way they’re done is a little tired, so maybe it is time to try something different. Like a prologue stinger. I don’t know if that phrase makes sense (I’m not totally sure of where the term stinger comes from), but here’s what I mean: set up the next film before the latest even begins. For the one and only example, as far as I know, look to the opening of the first Superman, which features the trial of […]

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jla

Much has already been written about how Marvel Studios and their Disney overlords have absolutely embarrassed their rivals over at Warner Brothers when it comes to mining their comic book properties for movies and TV shows. You see, there are two main comic book companies in the world that house most of the big superhero characters everyone knows between them, and while Marvel has been able to use its characters to create multiple stand-alone film franchises, team-up movies that tie all of the franchises together, and even television shows that tie things together even tighter, so far all Warners has been able to do with their DC heroes is make a bunch of Superman and Batman movies that don’t even have anything to do with each other. Okay, so they made a Green Lantern movie too, but that’s probably best forgotten. With yesterday’s huge announcement that Marvel has signed a deal with Netflix to create four more TV shows, which will then all come together for an Avengers-style mini-series called The Defenders, Marvel’s dominance over DC when it comes to live action entertainment becomes even more obvious. Really, they’re starting to pull so far away from the competition at this point that Warners has to be seen as having egg on their face. The thing is that they have the characters and the resources necessary to catch up though. All they need to do is swallow their pride and start following the Marvel model.

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Loki - Thor the Dark World

Tom Hiddleston joins us this week to discuss his third Marvel outing in Thor: The Dark World, and to find a match for Loki in the Shakespearean universe. Our interview is much ado about spandex, but before it, Geoff and I will share some non-superhero comic books we think should be turned into movies and hyper-sexualized HBO series. You should follow the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #40 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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Marvel Please Stop

Marvel has a bit of a surprise for you. Not satisfied with storming onto ABC and bringing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (and the upcoming Agent Carter) into households each week, the studio is now teaming up with Netflix for an unprecedented new deal to move to the small screen. Beginning in 2015, Marvel will develop four original shows focusing on Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage. After those wrap, the four series will lead to a cumulative miniseries event bringing together a re-imagined version of The Defenders. Though this may not directly be part of Marvel’s under-wraps plans for cranking out movies until 2021, it’s certainly a way to lay the foundation for their goal: to prove that they’re “more than the five characters and five franchises” featured in The Avengers. Here are four more notable Marvel characters, ready for duty on Netflix. Once that miniseries has concluded, how soon until the new movies begin filming?

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taylor

Thor: The Dark World may be director Alan Taylor‘s first feature film, but this isn’t his first rodeo behind the camera. Far from it, actually. Taylor has directed episodes for some of your favorite television shows: Mad Men, Deadwood, Rome, Bored to Death, and The Sopranos. Taylor brought those series to real highs. For The Sopranos, he helmed the episode where Tony killed his nephew Christopher — one of the most dramatic moments of that series. But it was Taylor’s time on Game of Thrones that landed him Thor: The Dark World. The first Thor often felt like more of a cartoon than a movie, and Marvel wanted to ground those rainbow bridges for the sequel. That doesn’t mean Thor: The Dark World is a gritty, humorless experience, but has a “dirt” to it, which is how Alan Taylor describes the style of the film. Speaking with Taylor from the London junket, he went into the differences between television and film, directing his first feature, and Marvel’s Kevin Feige.

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Thor: The Dark World

So far Marvel has had a terrific run. They’ve been putting out solid films, and the way they set up Phase I was an astonishing feat. They’re risk-takers, and releasing a Thor movie in 2011 was one of those risky decisions. Would an audience accept a Norse God and all the fantastical mumbo jumbo that came with him? They did, making Thor a success for the studio. Its sequel, Thor: The Dark World, makes up for a few of the previous film’s issues, while also bringing its own set of serious problems to the table. This time around Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is facing more struggles than ever before. His relationship with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has suffered after years of distance, he’s fighting small-scale wars, he’s still conflicted over his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and, to make matters worse, a D-movie villain, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), leader of the Dark Elves, shows up for revenge. Malekith not only shakes up the world of Asgard, but also any dramatic potential to be had with the more interesting conflicts set up but given no satisfying payoffs. So much, with the exception of director Alan Taylor‘s eye, is given little time to breathe.

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson has been hovering around the role of Quicksilver in The Avengers: Age of Ultron since July, but yesterday came the official confirmation we’ve all been expecting for roughly half a year. The Wrap has the big news, along with the reason why such a super-speedy character was cast at a Mr. Magoo-like rate. It seems that Taylor-Johnson had already been booked up for some time with his Godzilla publicity tour, and it’s taken some time to ensure the actor will be able to both join the Avengers and tell the world how he was almost stepped on by a giant lizard. Elizabeth Olsen, strangely enough, is also a part of Godzilla and Age of Ultron, yet according to Samuel L. Jackson she was good to go a month ago without all these negotiating dilly-dallies. But now it’s all been worked out, and including Jackson’s slip about Olsen as Scarlet Witch and James Spader‘s casting as Ultron, it looks like all the major new additions for Age of Ultron have been locked in. Of course, there’s still loads of Avengers goodness to be seen before May 1, 2015 rolls around. We’ve yet to obsess of Quicksilver’s costume, his super-speed visual effects and if Taylor-Johnson will sport the same ridiculous pointy silver haircut as his comic book counterpart. Once that’s taken care of, and the same has been done for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, the Avengers can finally assemble once more.

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Pixar Cutting Room

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Captain America Winter Soldier Banner

Well, you can take the superhero out of the Avengers, but you can’t take the Avengers out of the superhero. You would think that he would still be struggling to adjust to life in the modern world after, you know, being frozen for 70 years and then almost immediately fighting aliens in New York City, but it seems that Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is doing pretty well for himself as he continues to work for Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and S.H.I.E.L.D. But as the title Captain America: The Winter Soldier implies, this isn’t really a team effort. Sure, he’s got Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) by his side to kick ass and take names, but we all know that when it comes down to it, that very Jared Leto-y looking villain is going to have to answer to the red, white and blue. As with any Marvel venture, there is explosion upon explosion, crashing car upon collapsing aircraft carrier, and it is all glorious. Soak it up. Plot wise, it’s still not clear why exactly it’s all on Captain America to save the nation, but there will undoubtedly be about 10 more trailers to dissect in the very long stretch between now and April. Check out the trailer for the Anthony and Joe Russo-directed film here:

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